I guess you can’t have everything. The Vegas Golden Knights checked almost every box I emphasized before Monday night’s game against the LA Kings, but still couldn’t get off to a good start. They allowed the game’s first goal just one minute into the opening period but rebounded nicely in a 4-1 win.
Probably the most encouraging thing that happened in the game was the re-establishment of the Vegas Golden Knights forecheck. Time after time the VGK got the puck in deep and followed up with some serious work along the boards to generate plenty of scoring chances and a few goals as well.
It was a good look for a team preparing to get Alex Pietrangelo back in the lineup, possibly as soon as Saturday. After a tough series split against the Colorado Avalanche it was good to see Vegas take the fight to the Kings and take care of business.
Also worth mentioning was the power play, which looked especially good on the first chance that resulted in Reilly Smith scoring a power play goal. Puck movement was crisp, movement off the puck was active, and the VGK were able to open up seams and generate a goal against a penalty kill that hasn’t allowed a power play goal against since March 6 vs. the St. Louis Blues.
To illustrate how the game swung after the halfway mark of the first period when Vegas woke up, starter Robin Lehner faced 13 shots in the first period and only 12 total the rest of the way. Also, Marc-Andre Fleury had the night off as Oscar Dansk backed up Lehner for the game.
- The slow starts continue, but the Golden Knights woke up a bit quicker this time. By the halfway mark of the first period the VGK had the momentum and except for small stretches for the rest of the game controlled the play.
- Reilly Smith recorded his first point in nine games with that power play goal.
- Vegas has now defeated the Kings in five-of-six meetings this season.
- The Golden Knights stay one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Honda West Division as both teams won on Monday.